Summit Trail Running Series and Summit Mountain Challenge return |

Summit Trail Running Series and Summit Mountain Challenge return

Sebastian Foltz
A runner in the Summit Trail Running Series weaves along a trail in Breckenridge. The series, which takes place on local trails at or above 9,000 feet, can test athletes who aren't already acclimated to the extreme altitude. But, when runners from altitude head to races at sea level their strength and speed can suffer.
Sebastian Foltz / Summit Daily file photo | Summit Daily

Summer racing is back in the High Country this week with the return of Summit Trail Running Series, starting Wednesday, June 4, followed by the Summit Mountain Challenge mountain biking series Wednesday, June 11.

Now in its 13th year, the Summit Trail Running Series kicks off Wednesday evening with a short-course 4K and long-course 6K in French Gulch. Originally scheduled as a 5K and 8K, the courses were shortened due to trail conditions.

“With the snow we had to modify the route a little bit,” Breckenridge Recreation Center sports and special events coordinator Brian Schaefer said, adding that this likely will be the only course that needs to be shortened.

“We obviously don’t want to jeopardize trails,” he said. “What we are going to run on is completely 100 percent dry.”

Essentially the same as in years past, the course will start at the B&B Trailhead on French Gulch Road and run counterclockwise up the gulch and back again along the network of trails in the area — excluding a section of Turk’s Trail.

Schaefer said the shortened trails will still have approximately the same elevation gain as the original courses — 650 feet for the long course and 450 feet for the short course.

“It’s a good warm-up for the season,” Schaefer said.

And for those new to the series or the area, it’s “a great way to come out and meet the local community of runners, and a fun way to get a knowledge of the local trails,” he added.

The six-race Summit Trail Running Series runs every other week through the summer. Day-of registration is available onsite and runners can register for individual races or the whole series for a discounted rate.

Wednesday’s season-opening race will include an after-party at Kenosha Steakhouse. Organizers will have a post-race raffle with prizes from the series title sponsor, The North Face Breckenridge store.

More information is available at

Summit Mountain Challenge

Maverick Sports Promotions kicks off its annual Summit Mountain Challenge mountain bike series Wednesday, June 11, with the Frisco Roundup on the trail network at the Frisco peninsula.

“It’s such a great venue,” race series director Jeff Westcott said. “It’s always our biggest race of the year.”

But don’t be fooled, he cautioned. Just because the race is on the fairly tame trail network on the peninsula doesn’t mean it’s an easy start to the series.

“Because of the rolling nature of it, you’re always on the gas,” Westcott said. “It’s a deceiving course.”

This year’s seven-race series will break from last year’s course selections slightly with the introduction of the Keystone Uphill/Downhill Double Time Trial — replacing last year’s Swan River Rampage.

Westcott said he opted to take a year off from using the popular portion of the Colorado Trail included in the rampage course. Certain portions of the trail are in need of maintenance, he said.

The Keystone time trial will take place in the Keystone Bike Park with riders being timed racing to the top, then back down after a break. The uphill race will be a group start, followed by an individual time trial back down on portions of the mountain’s green-level downhill singletrack.

New this year, anyone who has never competed in a race will receive one free entry into any single race. Those who sign up for the entire season — all seven races — also will receive one free entry into the Vail Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series, now in its 31st year.

As to trail conditions, Westcott was confident that the series will be able to be run as scheduled.

“It’s amazing what the month of June will do,” he said.

Registration and race series information is available at

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